This Kind-hearted Stranger Helped A Struggling Mom – But Then His Story Suddenly Took A Tragic Turn

Jamie-Lynne Knighten was visiting Trader Joe’s with her baby when the late-night grocery stop descended into the shopping trip from hell. Luckily for her, though, Good Samaritan Matthew Jackson came to her rescue. However, the very next day, his story took a tragic turn.

Jackson lived in Oceanside, California. There, he worked at a gym and earned a modest income. However, that didn’t stop him from expressing his generosity, as San Diego resident Knighten discovered one day in 2015.

Knighten had been combining caring for her five-month-old son with doing a weekly shop at a Trader Joe’s on Vista Way in Oceanside. Her baby had been crying as she made her way around the unfamiliar store. As a result, the late-night grocery trip was becoming quite an ordeal.

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To make matters worse, when Knighten got to the check-out her credit card was declined, and she’d come out without her debit card. With no alternative way of paying, the mom began searching desperately for her phone so that she could call her bank.

However, before she could reach her cell, she felt someone approach her. It was Jackson, and he was eager to help Knighten out by paying for her groceries. But the total bill was around $200, and the mom-of-two was at first unwilling to let the stranger step in.

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Recalling her exchange with Jackson, Knighten later told TV network ABC News, “Matthew steps up to me and said, ‘May I?’ And I said, ‘May you what?’ He said, ‘May I take care of your groceries?’ I told him ‘no’ and that it was a very large purchase. He really wanted to.”

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In the end, Knighten accepted Jackson’s altruistic offer. And all he wanted in return was for her to pay the good deed forward someday. “He said, ‘You just have to promise that you’ll do it for somebody else,’” Knighten later explained.

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In the days that followed, Knighten couldn’t get Jackson’s kindness out of her mind. Consequently, over a week after their encounter, she called his workplace – an LA Fitness gym – to tell Matthew’s boss about his good deed and perhaps arrange a gift.

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However, as she began speaking to gym manager Angela Lavinder, the stranger at the end of the phone began to sob. When she composed herself, she explained to Knighten that Jackson had died in a road accident less than 24 hours after his display of generosity.

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Jackson had been driving his Ford Fiesta when he lost control and it collided with a tree. Sadly, Jackson died of his injuries. Meanwhile, the two other passengers in the vehicle were hospitalized but escaped the incident with their lives intact.

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Understandably, the news devastated Knighten. Writing on Facebook soon after her call with Lavinder, she said, “I still cannot believe it. I thought for sure I would get the chance to see him again, give him a hug and thank him at least once more in person.”

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Knighten’s moving post went viral on social media and soon enough Jackson’s death had sparked a global pay-it-forward movement. “[It] was incredible,” Knighten told the Los Angeles Times newspaper in 2015. “People saying they were going to pay it forward in Scotland, in Wisconsin, in Australia. Overwhelming. It was overwhelming.”

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Soon, too, news of Knighten’s post and Jackson’s good deed got back to his nearest and dearest. Nic Carlson, for instance, had been in the car with Jackson at the time of the accident. He suffered broken ribs and amnesia as a result of the collision, but Knighten’s tale reminded him of his friend’s kind nature.

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In 2015, speaking to TV news network NBC7 San Diego about Knighten’s encounter with Jackson, Carson said, “It sounds like Matt, like something he would do. He was always a good guy. Always wanted to make people feel better or fix a problem that they had.”

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Similarly, when Jackson’s mom, LeeAnn Krymow, heard about what her son had done for Knighten she wasn’t surprised. According to her, Jackson had thought of others since he was young. So it must have seemed fitting that one of his final deeds on Earth was a good one.

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The proud mom told the Los Angeles Times, “I knew my boy was like this… He loved to be kind. He was just a really special kid. So cute, so intelligent, so talented, an accomplished musician. You wonder why these things happen.”

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Recalling one of her son’s earlier acts of kindness, Krymow remembered how – when she was raising Jackson in Phoenix, Arizona – the pair had become thirsty under the scorching sun. They had pulled over to get some water. But when Jackson spotted a beggar one block later, he had leapt from the car and handed the drink to the stranger.

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And now, all these years later, and in the wake of his death, Jackson was inspiring more people to do something nice for others. Indeed, to honor his life, Knighten set up the Matthew’s Legacy Facebook page. The idea was to encourage more people to carry out acts of kindness in tribute to the late Oceanside resident.

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The short description on the social media page reads, “This amazing human always put others first. Please do something extraordinary for a stranger to honor #MatthewsLegacy and help restore faith in humanity.”

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So thanks to a five-minute meeting with Knighten the day before his death, Jackson will be remembered for his kindness. “There has got to be some good to come of this,” Krymow said. “He would be happy to know that other people are learning from his example.”

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